Why This Recipe Works
These salty-sweet treats are reminiscent of Snickers bars—although we think they're even better, and prettier to boot. The base is a mixture of melted chocolate and chopped peanuts. We also added some coconut oil to this mix; we planned to freeze these treats—who doesn't love a frozen candy bar?—and coconut oil becomes solid at cold temperatures, resulting in a firm base layer with a nice snap. For the easiest-ever peanut butter–nougat filling, we melted peanut butter and butter together and then folded in marshmallow crème before mixing in more peanuts. We spread this plush confection in a thick, even layer over the chocolate base. To finish these candies, we settled on a decorative flourish of caramel and chocolate. Stirring a little heavy cream into melted store-bought soft caramels gave them just the right consistency for drizzling. Start with 1 tablespoon and add the second tablespoon if needed. With a chocolaty base; a soft, chewy, crunchy center; and a sweet topping, we may never go for a store-bought candy bar again.
Makes 36 candies
These bars are best served straight from the freezer.
8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
1 cup salted dry-roasted peanuts
½ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups marshmallow crème
4 ounces soft caramels
1–2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. Make foil sling for 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is 8 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Grease foil.
2. Combine 6 ounces chocolate and coconut oil in medium bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Finely chop ½ cup peanuts; add to melted chocolate and stir to combine. Transfer to prepared pan and smooth into even layer. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
3. Combine peanut butter and butter in medium bowl and microwave until butter is melted and warm, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir until incorporated. Fold in marshmallow crème and stir until well combined (mixture should lighten in color and may look separated). Fold in remaining ½ cup peanuts. Spread evenly over chocolate layer and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
4. Heat caramels and 1 tablespoon cream in small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth, adding additional 1 tablespoon cream if necessary; set aside. Melt remaining 2 ounces chocolate. Drizzle caramel and chocolate over peanut butter layer and freeze until set, about 30 minutes. Using foil overhang, remove candies from pan. Using greased knife, cut into 36 squares and serve immediately.